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How to Play the Ancient Game of Pai Sho

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The ancient game of "Pai Sho" is a board game created by the makers of Avatar: The Last Airbender & Avatar: The Legend of Korra, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. The game has made appearances in the show, and an online equivalent may be played at . However, if you want an actual board, you can find some unofficial versions for sale, or you can make your own.

The game of Pai Sho itself has both fan-made rules and official rules. The fan-made rules are partially inspired by the Japanese art of flower arranging, orIkebana. It is usually played with two players, although more can play, with variations in the rules.

Notice that these rules borrowed from the Pai sho project and are released under a creative commons share-alike license.Any change noted to the Pai Sho Project wiki is welcomed to be added to this article, as the rules of the game are still currently in debate.


Online Rules

  1. Get your tiles.You are given 6 kinds of tiles. The water tile, earth tile, fire tile, air tile, avatar tile and lotus tile. The earth tile defeats the fire tile, the fire tile beats air, the air beats water and the water beats earth.
  2. Play the tiles on spaces.When the avatar tile is placed adjacent to any tile it will kill it. If any tile besides the lotus moves beside the avatar the avatar will be captured and will respawn at the beginning. The lotus is checked if a tile is adjacent to it if the lotus does not move after being checked it dies and the opponent wins the game. If the lotus is moved to the center of the board and no opponent is in any of the squares beside the center the player wins.

The Game

  1. Know the object.To arrange your pieces in a way to gain the most points by generating "harmonies", and by avoiding the generation of "disharmonies".
  2. Learn the gameplay rules.Each player may take one of four moves during their turn:
    • Play one piece on an intersection.
    • Move one of the pieces up, down, left, or right to an adjoining intersection, as long as they don't interfere with tile rules.
    • Use the wheel to rotate the pieces around the wheel clock-wise.
    • Pass their turn.
      • - A tile may not end its turn on a point occupied by another tile that it cannot capture.
      • - A player may move a tile any number of spaces shorter than its maximum movement value.
      • - Flowers may end their turn on an intersection composed of both red and white spaces regardless of their color.
      • - Flower tiles placed onto an opposing color intersection by a tile capable of moving other tiles are returned to the players reserve pile.
  3. Understand the concept of Harmonies.Certain flower tiles go along with other tiles (called a "harmony") or they will go against other tiles ("disharmony"). At the end of each game, each tile that is in harmony with the one next to it earns 1 point. Each tile that is in disharmony with the tile next to it causes the owner of the tile to lose 1 point. Pieces must be owned by the same player to generate harmony or disharmony. The harmonies are displayed lower on this page.To form a harmony, the two tiles must be owned by you, and they must be connected by any number of the lines in one cardinal direction. There can be no opposing or disharmonious tiles in between your two tiles. However, there may be boat and neutral harmony flower tiles in between.
  4. Know when to remove tiles.Landing on a tile may or may not remove it from the board. To move one, it must be an opposite tile, and owned by your opponent. The Dragon and Lotus rules still apply here, and all removed tiles are placed into The Pot.
  5. Wrap up the game.The game ends when one player is left with only three harmonious tiles, a player forfeits, or a player forms a consistent chain of harmonies around the center point and wins the game.
  6. Calculate the scores.At the end of the game, each player tallies the points scored for all the harmonies they completed. Red flowers in red spaces and white flowers in white spaces in a harmony get one extra bonus point. All of a player's pieces that are within 3 spaces of a White Lotus tile gain an extra point also. Each player then subtracts 1 point for each piece that they have on the board. The player with the most points remaining wins.

Tiles Guide

  1. Below is the guide to the tiles:
    • White Flowers
      • Jasmine: Harmony with Lily and Rhododendron. Disharmony with Rose.
      • Lily: Harmony with Jasmine and White Jade. Disharmony with Chrysanthemum.
      • White Jade: Harmony with Lily and Rose. Disharmony with none.
    • Red Flowers
      • Rose/Snapdragon: Harmony with White Jade and Chrysanthemum. Disharmony with Jasmine. The Rose Tile can be substituted for a Snapdragon tile for aesthetic purposes.
      • Chrysanthemum: Harmony with Rose and Rhododendron. Disharmony with Lily.
      • Rhododendron: Harmony with Chrysanthemum and Jasmine. Disharmony with White Dragon.
    • Non-flowers
      • Knotweed: May be placed on any point. When played, all pieces that are next to knotweed orthogonally (or at a right angle to) are dead. Any piece, even the owner of the knotweed's pieces, that is placed or moved next to a knotweed is dead. Knotweed may not move, or be moved by other pieces. The point of this tile is to lessen your opponent's tiles, and therefore their points.
      • Wheel: When played, rotate clock-wise the pieces that are immediately around it. Wheels cannot be moved by any tile but another wheel. At the end, each player loses 1 extra point for each wheel they have on the board, even if they are considered dead.
      • Boat: Use this piece to "push" another piece orthogonally as well as the piece next to it. This may only be done if there is an empty space behind the second piece that the boat tile is moving (which would be behind the first piece), and if the move is normally legal.
      • Rock: Players may not play or move a piece so that it is next to an opponent's rock, orthogonally or diagonally.
    • Special Tiles
      • White Dragon: Harmony with the Lilly and Rose. Disharmony with Rhododendron.
      • White Lotus:Players gain 1 point for each piece that they own within 3 spaces from a White Lotus at the end of the game. No harmonies or disharmonies. This tile is a "wild card."

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Quick Summary

To play Pai Sho, start by selecting two players and give each one six tiles from categories like white flowers and red flowers to play with. Next, score points by pairing tiles next to each other to create harmonies, or kill your opponents tiles by forming disharmonies. The game ends when a player has only 3 harmonious tiles left, forms a chain of harmonious tiles around the center point, or if a player forfeits.

Did this summary help you?


  • Neither the Pai Sho board nor the tiles are in production. Make your own out of paper, cardboard, or even wood, if you know woodworking.

Things You'll Need

  • The Board: The game is played on a circular board with an 18 x 18 square grid with the corners cut off. In the center is a diamond shape divided into quarters with white and red at opposite corners. A total of 256 spaces are required to be on a Pai Sho board. Search your Internet browser for an accurate image of the board.
  • The Tiles: The player has 12 different types of tiles divided into three groups(for a total of 54 tiles per player), which are white flowers, red flowers and non-flower tiles.

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Date: 10.12.2018, 13:03 / Views: 82181